We're supposed to be able to rely on law enforcement to keep us safe, but at the end of the day, cops are people too, and sometimes they make mistakes. Big ones. Like the ones in the NYPD who allegedly denied a diabetic, special-ed teenager his insulin in order to coerce a confession out of him for a non-fatal shooting.
Yeah. The family of 14-year-old Richard Gonzalez has filed a federal lawsuit against the NYPD, claiming that cops bullied him "with balled fists" and "tried to manipulate him into confessing," according to their lawyer Carmen Giordano. And they allegedly denied him his insulin pump, causing him to become very ill.
Gonzalez was charged with attempted murder for an April shooting at a Bushwick Foot Locker, when 15-year-old Isaiah Martinez allegedly tried to cut in line to buy a pair of $250 Kanye West-designed Nike Air Foamposite Pro "Yeezy" sneakers, and got shot in the foot.
Even Martinez told cops they had the wrong guy when they went after Gonzalez, but apparently they were convinced it was him -- because a witness said the shooter was named "Richie," and the two teens were Facebook friends.
Just ... wow. If this is all true, that's a helluva lot of incompetence from the police. So they supposedly arrested a sick, special needs teens on the flimsiest evidence ever, denied him his meds, and denied his family access to take care of him? According to papers, by the time he got in front of a judge, "his sugar levels were so high he was gagging, dizzy, weak and nauseous."
Gonzalez's diabetes is so serious that he has to wear a pump which delivers doses of insulin into his bloodstream every hour. The cops reportedly removed it as part of their plan to get a confession. They also supposedly threatened to having the boy's mother, Divian Ramos, thrown out of the station when she objected to them questioning him without her present.
Before his name was ultimately cleared by the Brooklyn District Attorney, he was transferred to a juvenile facility, and then two different hospitals -- without his parent's knowledge. Documents claim he spent three nights handcuffed to a bed.
According to reports, the real "Richie" was being treated the night of the shooting after a stabbing. Gonzalez's family is "seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for false arrest, malicious prosecution, endangering the teenager's health, and negligence."
As they should if this is all true. Did they really arrest him because he was Facebook friends with the victim, and an eyewitness claimed someone named "Richie" had done the shooting? It hardly seems real.
Do you think tactics like this go to far when trying to force a confession?
Image via Melissa J./Flickr